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4th May 2023

Theakston launches limited-edition packaging for Old Peculier in celebration of 20th Crime Writing Festival

Yorkshire-based brewery T&R Theakston has launched its annual limited-edition packaging of its iconic Old Peculier beer, ahead of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in July this year.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival is regarded as one of the UK’s top literary festivals. Since launching in 2003 it has become known as ‘the Oscars of the crime fiction world’, where the coveted Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award will be presented to one of a shortlist of six authors and a recipient of the Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award will also be revealed.

In honour of the landmark festival, which recently revealed its full programme and longlist, the brewery is repackaging its bottles of Old Peculier to include a bloody thumbprint and the festival logo. Fans of the beer can see the special branding in all shops, and bars and restaurants from the mid-May.

Old Peculier, one of Theakston’s most renowned ales, is inextricably connected with crime. The 5.6% dark red ale takes its name from Masham’s historic Court of the Peculier which in medieval times allowed the parish to govern its own affairs when dealing with civil law. This year’s festival has been curated by award winning crime and thriller author Vaseem Khan, and will feature authors including Lee Child, Andrew Child, Janice Hallett, Rob Rinder and Femi Kayode.

Simon Theakston, joint managing director of T&R Theakston, said: “We have worked closely with Harrogate International Festivals on the Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival for two decades now, and are so proud of what it has become.

“This year is a landmark year and the programme which Vaseem has curated is very exciting,  covering everything from the perfect murderous opening, police procedurals and dark obsessions to legal thrillers and the golden age of crime. It’s fantastic to be able to provide a prologue to what will be an exciting festival with the relaunch of our limited-edition Old Peculier packaging. I am thoroughly looking forward to celebrating with authors and fans alike once again at the world’s best crime writing Festival over a pint of Old Peculier!”

Commenting on his role as the chair of the Festival for 2023, Vaseem Khan said: “It’s a privilege to chair this year’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. My late father and I watched Poirot together and we’d never imagined that decades later I would chair a Festival so closely connected to Agatha Christie. It feels special to be the first British Asian crime writer to chair the Festival, and even more special for the monumental 20th anniversary. The Festival team has pulled together an Avengers Assemble line-up of crime writers to celebrate the monumental anniversary. You’d be (criminally) insane to miss it.”

To find out more about the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival which runs from 20th– 23rd July, visit:, or to find out more about Theakston Brewery, visit:


Contact: Beth Chaplow, Aberfield Communications,